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Biological Research

Three-Week Summer Science Program

This program was named Top Science Program in the US by the New York Times subsidiary,

Biological Research: Synthetic Biology has won numerous awards and sold out multiple years in a row. Why? Because this cutting-edge program, one of the most lab-intensive at BLI, covers topics you won’t see in high school. Synthetic Biology, gene therapy, and genetic engineering will allow scientists to eliminate genetic diseases and mutations, saving lives across the globe. Genetic engineers are working to eliminate cancer-causing mutations, lessen the impact of Down Syndrome, and provide the ability to hear to deaf patients for the first time. They can even engineer bacteria to break down plaque in the bloodstream, eliminating blood clots that would otherwise result in fatal strokes.  The new frontier of modern medicine has arrived, and this summer at BLI, you can be a part of it.

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This is a competitive admissions summer research program designed for teens.

Students do an advanced experiment in the Biological Research: Synthetic Biology three-week program


Session 1: June 27th – July 15th, 2022 at Dana Hall

Session 2: July 18th – August 5th, 2022 at Dana Hall

Our Instructor

Jim Dixon was named 2012 Outstanding Biology Teacher by the National Association of Biology Teachers.  He developed the Synthetic Biology curriculum with colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Mr. Dixon has taught college-level Biology courses at Northeastern University.  He developed scientific curricula with colleagues at Harvard University and Understanding by Design. He has been recognized as Presidential Distinguished Teacher and Massachusetts Master Teacher. Mr. Dixon teaches Biology and AP Biology at Sharon High School where he is advisor for the genetic engineering team and Science Club. He has taught at Sharon High School since 2004 and is a co-advisor for the Science Olympiad team.

Jim dixon faculty photo 1

Read our students’ accounts of our Biological Research program written for Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth’s Imagine Magazine.

Cover of the March / April edition of the Imagine Magazine

The article Designer Genes by Sachi Lagwankar shows how the author was immersed in the field of Biology during BLI’s Biological Research program. She writes that the program helped her learn in a way that no high-school lab could. Read more

The article Forging a Path in Synthetic Biology by Jeremy Wang describes how BLI’s Biological Research program furthered his understanding & further motivated him to study Synthetic Biology and how the research he did helped him. Read more

Cover of the January / February edition of the Imagine Magazine

Student Comments – Summer 2021

‘I really enjoyed the program. The lectures were extremely informational and engaging and the labs were fun. Jim is an amazing teacher and clearly knows a lot about Synbio– I wish there were more teachers like him at my school!’

‘Not only was the program incredibly informative, it was so much fun! I never thought that I would learn so much in 3 weeks. Mr. Jim was a great teacher, and the TA’s were very helpful’

‘I enjoyed how hands on the course was, there were always labs to do each afternoon. The morning lectures were very informative and Mr. Jim was very effective at conveying the information in an engaging way. I’m extremely satisfied with this course. ‘

‘This program was a perfect opportunity to gain exposure to an incredible variety of topics realted to synthetic biology, as well as many different aspects of biotechnology and lab procedures. Jim was an absolutely fantastic teacher with boundless enthusiasm. The TAs were super and crucial to all of the great experiences we had in this course.’

‘It was wonderful. Jim was excellent and was always very enthusiastic and passionate about teaching. It was a very valuable experience, especially the extensive hands-on lab work. I learned a lot about synbio and its applications. The TAs were also very great. Jim always encouraged and welcomed questions, which I loved..’

Students do scientific research in the Biological Research three-week program
Students do an experiment in the Biological Research three-week program

‘The program was great experience and full of fun. I really enjoyed the labs and the lectures where we learn new techniques such as CRISPR. Jim was so kind and funny, he really made every class enjoyable.’

‘The program was very fun and I had fun learning a lot in a great environment. The people and teachers were very nice and the course was well made for all levels. Jim was super thoughtful and helpful and went out of his way to do things above and beyond to help. I loved the labs.’ 

‘I liked the hands on aspect of the program. The labs were exciting, and even if we didn’t get the ‘right’ results. I still enjoyed learning about the science. I liked how Jim was engaging even during the longer lectures.’

‘I really enjoyed Mr. Dixon’s enthusiasm. It was contagious and motivated me to learn as much as possible. I also loved performing gel electrophoresis and being able to make my own gels.’

BioSTEM Award, 2018, J&J • Top Summer Science Program, 2011-2019, NY Times/ • Top Robotics Program, 2017, RoboLoco • Best Medicine Program, 2018, ParentMap • Top Biomedical Engineering, •
Top 101 Summer Camps & Programs, • Top Biomedical Engineering, 2017,

Our Programs are Featured on the National Association for Gifted Children Website

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